USA Today has a long article out about the state of the post-Freddie Gray state of the Baltimore. Unsurprisingly, it’s a disaster:
In the space of just a few days in spring 2015 – as Baltimore faced a wave of rioting after Freddie Gray, a black man, died from injuries he suffered in the back of a police van – officers in nearly every part of the city appeared to turn a blind eye to everyday violations. They still answered calls for help. But the number of potential violations they reported seeing themselves dropped by nearly half. It has largely stayed that way ever since.
“What officers are doing is they’re just driving looking forward. They’ve got horse blinders on,” says Kevin Forrester, a retired Baltimore detective.
The surge of shootings and killings that followed has left Baltimore easily the deadliest large city in the United States. Its murder rate reached an all-time high last year; 342 people were killed. The number of shootings in some neighborhoods has more than tripled. One man was shot to death steps from a police station. Another was killed driving in a funeral procession.
Millions of police records show officers in Baltimore respond to calls as quickly as ever. But they now begin far fewer encounters themselves. From 2014 to 2017, dispatch records show the number of suspected narcotics offenses police reported themselves dropped 30 percent; the number of people they reported seeing with outstanding warrants dropped by half. The number of field interviews – instances in which the police approach someone for questioning – dropped 70 percent.
“Immediately upon the riot, policing changed in Baltimore, and it changed very dramatically,” says Donald Norris, an emeritus professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, who reviewed USA TODAY’s analysis. “The outcome of that change in policing has been a lot more crime in Baltimore, especially murders, and people are getting away with those murders.”
The far left has had the idea for some time that crime and violence in minority, inner city communities is caused entirely by “racist police” and that if police just went away, things would magically improve in these communities. Of course, what has happened instead is that in every single community that’s turned against its police force, crime and violence have exploded.
The police are faced with a near impossible task of trying to keep order in the community while having their every move scrutinized heavily. No human being is going to stick out their neck under such circumstances. Just imagine if you had someone watching you 24/7 for the slightest mistake or slip up, with any such slip up resulting in a job loss or even jail time!
Humans can’t function under this kind of scrutiny. We’re not robots. Only the very desperate or very stupid would become a Baltimore police officer under such circumstances. Our best and brightest sure won’t sign up, and the ones who remain on the police force are going to be very careful not to take any risks which might bring harm to themselves or their families.
Instead, the best and the brightest on the police force have gotten the message and are quitting, retiring, or transferring to towns where the population hasn’t been trained by liberals to hate and fear the local police. The ones who remain are playing it very safe and only responding to direct requests for help by citizens.
It has also drawn scorn from civil rights advocates, who scoff at the idea that police can’t protect both the city and the rights of its residents.
“What it says is that if you complain about the way the police do our job, maybe we’ll just lay back and not do it as hard,” says Jeffery Robinson, a deputy legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, which had advocated for an overhaul of police agencies in Baltimore and elsewhere. “If it’s true, if that’s what officers are doing, they should be fired.”
The “civil libertarians'” usual response to the rise of crime is to claim that police are just on strike and refusing to do their jobs out of spite.
In fact, police officers are trying to protect themselves from social justice mobs whipped up by the hysterical rhetoric of the left, which is then amplified by leftist political pressure groups and the media. A great example of this is the Michael Brown case, where the media spread the “hands up, don’t shoot” hoax. The police officer involved in that shooting, Darren Wilson, had his life ripped apart for months because of this hoax, and could have easily faced jail because of it.
No police officer wants to be the next Darren Wilson, so the natural response when not responding directly to citizen requests for assistance is to simply drive on by and not take action to prevent crimes.
The ACLU in the quote above recommends firing police officers, but doesn’t seem to understand that any new police officers that are hired will have the same risk-averse behavior. It’s not possible to pay the police the kinds of salaries which would justify the risk of jail time and social justice mobs whipped up by the media trying to ruin them, especially since leftist city governments won’t admit there’s a problem in the first place and often joins the mob instead of standing by their employees.
In the end, this is yet another example of leftist policies not being reflective of reality, and leftist immaturity in trying to pretend that the problem of “de-policing” is the result of a police strike and not their own idiotic policies. The left seems to want a society where there is no crime and no police. You cannot have both, and they lack the maturity to understand this.